Smelly Marker Writing Exercise

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Smelly markers – the good smelling kind! The ones that conjure up memories!

I love the Mr. Sketch Markers for anchor charts. They last forever and the smells bring great stories to mind.

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At the end of last school year, I was able to order some markers for teachers and myself. I brought them to my presentation on Wednesday and everyone went crazy with “OOO I love those “and “Can I smell them?” I even converted a couple of people who were not on the Mr Sketch marker train.

You know your kids have been into the markers when a colored dot is on their nasal septum (that part between the nostrils) even if they claim they have not been sniffing the delicious scents!

My favorite scent is the Brown Marker that smells like cinnamon. YUM!

In my presentation last week, someone said it would be great if there was a marker that smelled like McDonald’s french fries. Broccoli would not be a good scent for green. What do you think? What do you think your students would say?

 

Writing Exercise:

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Go write!

 

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Marc D Hans is Amazing!

There have been several times in the trajectory of my teaching career over 22 years that I have questioned whether I am in the right place and doing the right things. I’ve been struggling with this concept for quite a while.

Tuesday my mindset shifted while listening to Marc D. Hans.  He is a man who does a lot and deals in Design Thinking. He is so much more than a teacher. After listening to him, I feel like I am in the right place again. I cannot put my finger on exactly what he said that resonated but overall he was INSPIRING. I needed to be inspired by someone dynamic. During the experiences he led us through I was ALL IN. It felt amazing and everything that he said made sense to me. I will be coming back again and again to my notes for the weeks to come. 

5 Takeaways (there were so many more for me!)

  1. Storytelling – every concept he talked about was connected to a story from his life. We were able to get to know him and he made his point. Even though I know that narrative is how our brains like to learn I often forget. Marc reminded me.
  2. Be Comfortable with the Uncomfortable – Being an introvert causes me to push out of my comfort zone with people all the time. The first activity he did that dealt with our phones pushed me – but I did it and I didn’t die. I have to remember that sometimes the payoff is better than the uncomfortable feeling. This idea ties into me sharing my own writing too.
  3. Make the SUBJECTIVE OBJECTIVE – naming things and examining exactly what it is can give perspective. Our perception of how people might react causes us to not start things because of our own limitations. We talk ourselves out of a lot and get in our own way. It reminds me to ask myself, “What is the worst that can happen?” Usually, it isn’t as bad as I first think.
  4. Humans crave GENUINE EXPERIENCES with others. I vow to stop answering “Fine” or “Good” when people ask me how I am.
  5. “Relationships are the difference between being a teacher and an employee.” How we care about the adults and students around us matters.

The literacy coach and consultant Lisa Vahey has been a jewel in my life over the past two years. There are many reasons for this fact,  but the most prominent in connection to today’s post is that she has introduced me to people that I never would have met any other way.  I never would have met Marc if it wasn’t for Lisa.

I am so glad that I was able to go to the workshop on Tuesday and Wednesday. I really left feeling inspired and I had some great conversations with teachers I work with.

I encourage you to look up these two people – you will not be sorry. You might even get inspired too!

 

Life Bubbles #SOL18

It’s Tuesday! A writing and commenting day I look forward to every week.

Time for the Slice of Life Challenge hosted by Two Writing Teachers.

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I am up incredibly early today. It is the second day in a row I am up at 4 am. I have had coffee and I am thinking about the day.

Yesterday was a busy one. Today will be too. I have happily engulfed myself in the laid back schedule of summer which requires minimal driving, lots of reading and writing, rest, and exercise.

Today is different.

Today I have to go to work. I have to tear myself from my new “normal” routine and transition back to “work” routine and I am not happy about it.

It will be fine once I am on the road. I will naturally morph back into my coaching role today at the literacy retreat/workshop today and tomorrow. I will listen to my podcasts to and from work and make notes.

Don’t misunderstand. I love the people at this workshop and will be delighted to spend the days with them but there will be a part of me all day longing to be with my husband and children.

Today will fuel my writing and my plans for coaching for the upcoming school year. I have big plans, but I am not quite so ready to think about them yet.

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I like my bubbles. Most of the time the home bubble and the work bubble only exist next to each other. We will see if they collide today or continue to be friends.

I Wish I Could Remember

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I wish I could remember more details of my foot races. They are hours of pain, images, and exhaustion. I scan the few photos and remember snippets but not a whole story. Lines and phrases only.

Boston should have been joyous but my Opa (German grandfather) had just died, I was written up at work for going to the Boston Marathon because it wasn’t an appropiate use of my grieve time according to the school. Ironically, a couple of months later the teacher across the hall went to Disney when her dad died,  but that was appropriate.

I remember the feeling in the first Marathon in Indy. I looked at my watch and knew I would finish with a time I didn’t think was possible.

So many hours I have run. Many to escape where I was. The time gap causes more memories to be forgotten than remembered. I read back to my notebooks and blog posts and the memory is restored for a few moments and I smile…again.

Lately,  I have been having trouble running joyously. I go out and move my feet.  I am tired all the time. It is painful but in a different way. My heart isn’t in it.

My soul and my body argue on a run now and it isn’t pleasant. They are at odds.

I read the other day if you don’t have inner peace then you will never have happiness. Outside sources cannot fuel it. I believe that to be true. Outside stressors especially are wreaking havoc on my inner peace. The running used to help and now I am evaluating if it has become a stress rather than relief.

Is there something in your life that used to help you that you feel is holding you back now? I would love to hear about it.

Everyone Needs A Bag Of Tricks

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Photo by Porapak Apichodilok on Pexels.com

As a person, I am scattered a lot of the time. Partly, it is my personality. Partly, it is because my life dictates it. Different personality traits tend to work within different roles I occupy in my existence. I believe quality work comes from focus. If I am having a hyper-focused period I can get a heap of work done and I feel on top of the world. Other times I am drudging through trying to find more time. In order for writing to be read, it has to get written.

I love hearing about other writers’ and teachers’ processes. I always think there is going to be a magical idea that will make the difference. I change processes always trying something new. It if works for you, keep it or modify it for you. Pay attention to what speaks to you.

As a writer, I distract myself with all kinds of activities but that can cost me. (Hello Twitter and random rabbit holes of information on the internet). You might be reading this blog as an aversion right now. So read the post and get back to work.

Let’s maximize our time and get more done with some tips about productivity.

Put these tricks in your bag of brilliance.

Trick 1: Don’t Spin Your Wheels

Don’t get in your own way and waste time with silly mistakes. Make sure you are following the guidelines for your project. Make notes for each project to focus on and remember where they are! Keep notes, resources, and research for the same project together. I often need to remember this myself. I have started writing short reminders at the top of the doc for the current project for quick reference that includes word count, graphics or not, research still left to do, and special instructions for this project.

Trick 2: Don’t Let the Good Ones Get Away

My ideas and interesting sentences come to me mostly at the wrong times – when I am in the shower, or driving or waiting in a line. Yesterday I had to wait for about 3 hours over the course of the day. Instead of getting irritated I researched and got some planning done. I think about what I am working on all the time, but my mind doesn’t stop. There is no perfect time for ideas to hit you. I am able to get more words on the page when I sit down to write them if I have been marinating on the ideas. I use the time to think about phrasing and connections to bigger ideas. More time thinking away from the computer means more completed projects. The magic doesn’t happen by accident even though we want everyone around us to think so.

Trick 3: Never Be Alone

Going back to the idea of being scattered – Keep a notebook with you at all times. I like paper for notes ideally but I spend a lot of time on the go. I have the Google Keep app on my home screen. I can write and send it to my drive easily. I don’t have to waste time rewriting those notes. You never know when lightning strikes and you have to be ready. There is nothing more frustrating than a great sentence floating away into the sky because you didn’t have anything to write it down with. As a juggler of life and time, we have to take advantage of time in the edges. Write it down immediately! Ideas fly away fast when they aren’t captured.

I like the KEEP app because you can open different notes for different projects and label it. I have a list I keep of 10 writing ideas. For me, 10 is the magic number. Not only does this help with the current project but if lightning strikes for a new idea you work on for another time. All great ideas must be captured!

Trick 4: Talk To Yourself

My thoughts run a little wild sometimes. I joke with my friends that I have too many drawers open in my brain at one time. You too? I have to use a dictation function when I cannot write, usually in the car or on a run for me. This one takes some getting used to. If you do not speak clearly sometimes you get some pretty weird word combinations. It isn’t all bad, sometimes I work the weird phrase into a piece!

Trick 5: They Are Called Deadlines for a Reason

No one wants to miss an important opportunity because cannot remember the date. Yes, we get busy but deadlines are deadlines. As a professional, you must turn your work in on time. Google or another calendar app can help block schedule time with a specific purpose so you get the work done. I schedule a lot into my calendar. In fact, I do this first thing in the morning. Then my phone alerts me to what I had planned to do that morning. Nothing calls a scattered mind to focus like an alert from yourself on your phone.

Trick 6: Sometimes it is a no pants day…sometimes it is not

I am a pantser no matter what I am writing. I like to write “from the seat of my pants”. I DO NOT LIKE TO PLAN, but I get more words done in a shorter period of time if I do. I make a lot of lists. I use a formula to figure out words per 15 minute chunk and allot time frames for myself. Then I put my ass in the chair so I write better, faster.

 

3.2.1 Quote Me – Hope

Thank you to Family Furore for nominating me for the 3.2.1 Quote Challenge.

Rules: 3.2.1 Quote Me!

  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Post 2 quotes for the Topic of the Day, which is HOPE.
  • Select 3 bloggers to take part in ‘3.2.1 Quote Me’.

The chosen topic for this challenge is HOPE and these are the two quotes I have chosen:

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A bonus quote:

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Hope is the piece that you sometimes have to look hard for when you are in the middle of despair. If it is dark, the hope is easier to see. There is a lot of pull between light and dark in our lives.

I always try to choose LOVE over FEAR. Everything is temporary and I try to remember that HOPE exists even in the darkest of circumstances.

 

The three bloggers nominated if they choose to accept the challenge are…

Kristyn from The Bibliophile Empress

https://eclipsedwords.com/

Books Inked

 

 

Do You Reread?

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There are few books I reread. The book Essentialism by Greg McKeown comes back onto my radar usually after I have listened to Tsh Oxenreider from THE ART OF SIMPLE talk about it.

This book requires me to think about my actions and why I make the decisions I do especially when it comes to how I spend my time. There is often a gap between what my responsibilities are and what I want to do. There is also a category of the things I should do because someone expects me to. This is the area I am really looking at for the upcoming school year. I have made a big decision about doing what I deem essential and also managing my schedule and time differently.

I have a choice about how I spend my time. At school, I want to spend my time on the actions that I can get the most bang for my buck and make the most impact with my teachers. I cannot do everything even though my TYPE A personality whispers to me in quiet moments that I can.

I stopped celebrating just being busy for busy sake and my stress levels went down.

Over the next couple of days these questions from the book will be on my mind:

  1. What do I feel deeply inspired by?
  2. What am I particularly talented at?
  3. What meets a significant need in the world?

The next right thing for me and my time is on my mind. What are you thinking about for the fall?

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Mystery Blogger Award!

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Hi everyone! I am so honored to have been nominated for the Mystery Blogger Award by Books, Life, and Everything Nice! She’s an amazing blogger! Please check out her blog. A great big thank you for the nomination!

The award was created by Okoto Enigma. The explanation on her blog is as follows:

The “Mystery Blogger Award” is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging; and they do it with so much love and passion.
– Okoto Enigma

RULES

  1. Put the award logo/image on your blog
  2. List the rules.
  3. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  4. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well
  5. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
  6. You have to nominate 10 – 20 people
  7. Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog
  8. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify)
  9. Share a link to your best post(s)

3 Things About Myself:

  1. I want to retire in Minnesota.
  2. I cannot play the piano but can play the violin.
  3. I love ultra running but have no desire to do a triathlon.

My Questions:

  1. What’s the funniest experience you’ve had on vacation? When in Hawaii, I went to a ranch and learned to lasso!
  2. What’s your favorite reading snack? Coffee and bread!
  3. How do other people describe you? Intense and passionate
  4. Of which accomplishment from last year are you most proud? Writing 31 stories for STORYADAY MAY
  5. What 3 things would you tell your younger self? Don’t follow the status quo. Follow all the white rabbits you want to and don’t be afraid.

My Nominees

https://lifewithktkinnes.com/

https://cornishmaidblog.com/

https://lifetravelsoul.com/

https://exquisitely.me/

https://bekadaisies.com/

https://bitchininthekitchen.org/

https://artsychiccreations.wordpress.com/

 

My Questions for them:

1.What was something you used to believe, but you no longer do?

2.What were the components of your best day ever?

3.What are you working on you are excited about?

4.Once upon a time or It was a dark and stormy night?

5.What do you find fills your creative well the best?

 

My 3 Favorite Posts

One – Quick Dinner

Two – Emotional Bank Account

Three MAGIC!

ARC MEANT TO BE BROKEN REVIEW

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For this review, I received an advance copy of this wonderful book. My opinions are my own.

This book is categorized as a YA Romance…not usually my genre and I was not disappointed in this book at all. The characters are well developed and you care about them. I kept reading wanting to know what happened to each of them. There are romance tropes of course, a love triangle and some terrible decisions on the characters part but a great read. The love triangle isn’t introduced right away but there is a build up where you sense it is coming. It was the perfect book to read in my hammock in the summer shade.

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The book is a respectable 450+ pages but went fast. The only reason I didn’t read it two days was because it was so good I didn’t want it to end.

I have been focused on character names lately and the three main were perfectly named in this book. Rayne, Gage,  and Preston.

The banter between Gage and Rayne is super fun to read. The relationships are well written along with the plot.

There are even a few moments where I was surprised by the way the story turned! A few gaspers even! Just when you think you have these lives figured out another curve ball comes in at just the right time. It is a satisfying read and one I highly recommend if you are in the mood for a great book.

Some favorite quotes:

Like we’re stuck in some sort of time warp where everything’s paused, and when we do get a moment, someone’s always crashing it. p.94

He’s walking Prozac to her, the one medicine that religiously calms her anxiety. p. 211

Everytime I speak, Taryn stares at me as if I’m a jigsaw puzzle in pants, some experiment she can pick apart and dissect like the fetal pigs from her medical classes, then bandage up again like-new condition. p. 393

Check this book out! It is a summer read that will suck you in and stick with you after the last page.

Title: Meant To Be Broken

Author: Brandy Woods Snow

Publisher: Filles Vertes Publishing

Publication Date: July 2nd, 2018

Format:

Reviewers in the United States: Paperback

International Reviewers: eBook (format of choice)

Description:

Rayne Davidson is perfectly happy fading into the background. Her mama’s antics garner enough attention in their small Southern town for the both of them, but when Rayne catches the eye of all-star quarterback, Preston Howard, she’s enamored with the possibilities. Too bad Preston doesn’t make her heart thump—his brother does.

Gage Howard doesn’t mind the town’s stares because he doesn’t get them. Growing up in his older brother’s shadow, Gage shrugs off the endless parade of girls Preston brings home—until Rayne.

But there are unwritten rules that shouldn’t be broken, like cheating on your boyfriend or betraying your brother. Rayne and Gage deny their growing attraction, neither willing to hurt Preston—until the town finds out.

They think overcoming the gossip will be the hardest obstacle.

They’re wrong.

Rayne’s mama has a secret, and its revelation could divide the town, the families, and the new couple.

Can love endure if it’s all built on a lie?

#happyreading